By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The second annual International Food & Fig Festival will celebrate the city’s diverse heritage of figs.
On Sept. 14, organizers will once again feature the popular fruit on the lawn in front of Savin Rock, off Captain Thomas Boulevard.
A fig is an Asian species of flowering plant in the mulberry family that is widely grown worldwide, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant.
The festival is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will showcase vendors buying, selling and trading figs or fig trees. Free parking is available in the parking lot of the nearby Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.
According to organizers, one participating vendor grows 350 varieties of fig trees; another grows 200 varieties.
The multicultural event will even include a fig demonstration, fig farmers market and fig tasting, organizers said.
“It is exciting to welcome back a unique festival that celebrates West Haven culture, food and, of course, figs,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said.
For the second year, Dr. Charles R. Vossbrinck, an associate agricultural scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and a self-proclaimed fig enthusiast, will speak at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. about propagating and overwintering figs in the state.
“I look forward to once again connecting with the fig hobbyists at the festival,” said Vossbrinck, a molecular biologist who is running trials of five varieties of figs in a greenhouse at the station’s 75-acre research farm, Lockwood Farm, in Hamden.
Vossbrinck is growing the fig varieties in 25-gallon self-watering pots both outdoors and in high tunnels. The pots are stored indoors during the winter.
The station, based in New Haven and operated by the state, engages in scientific research and public outreach in agriculture and related fields. Founded in 1875, it is the oldest state experiment station in the U.S.
Vossbrinck and his team are also trying to grow figs outdoors, a difficult task because of Connecticut’s cold winters and the need to extend the growing season, he said.
Rossi said the festival is taking place at no cost to the city, thanks to private donations and sponsors.
For information, contact Ruth G. Torres in the mayor’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org.